Karlsson remains the top story for today's deadline!

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Big names are off the market, as veteran forwards Rick Nash and Tomas Plekanec were traded yesterday. 

The Montreal Canadiens traded Plekanec to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a package of picks and prospects, retaining 50% of Plekanec's salary in the trade. And we cannot forget how the Boston Bruins made a splash on the trade market, acquiring star forward Rick Nash from the New York Rangers. The Rangers acquire Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey, prospect Ryan Lindgren a 1st round pick and a 2nd round pick in exchange for Nash.

While other significant names have yet to move on the trade block, notably Buffalo Sabres top forward Evander Kane and Detroit Red Wings rental defenseman Mike Green, the main story of this year's trade deadline remains Ottawa Senators captain and star defender Erik Karlsson, as NHL insider Darren Dreger pointed out early this morning. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning has been playing hard on the market to try and land Karlsson, and NHL insider Pierre LeBrun recently revealed in one of his articles in The Athletic that the Nashville Predators are also interesting in landing the Sens captain. 

"The Senators spoke to several teams about Erik Karlsson this week, and who knows if he’s traded or not before Monday’s deadline, but I love the fact one of those teams I’m told chatted with them was Nashville. Yes, the Predators. The team with the best top four in the NHL. I can’t see how the Preds could ever swing it so I’d call it a longshot at best, but it just goes to show you that veteran GM David Poile leaves no stone unturned. He probably just wanted to see what’s what. One thing we know about him, he’s not scared to ask, or act."

Add the San Jose Sharks to the list of teams interested in the Senators defenseman as LeBrun added on Saturday that the Sharks have spoken to the Senators about Karlsson. 

Recently, Dreger and TSN colleague Bob McKenzie both agreed that a massive offer will be needed to land Karlsson, but the latter believes a rival team might have the perfect trade pitch to convince GM Pierre Dorion to pull the trigger on his captain. McKenzie said he’s heard “upwards of five, six, seven pieces” and perhaps a team being asked to take on forward Bobby Ryan’s contract in that same deal. It is to be noted that Ryan still has four seasons remaining at an annual salary-cap hit of $7.25 million on his current deal. 

"I think the Ottawa Senators are somewhat open to the idea of trading Erik Karlsson between now and the deadline and as a result those conversations are taking place. But it’s got to be for an absolutely huge haul. We’re hearing upwards of five, six, seven pieces and perhaps teams being asked to take on Bobby Ryan’s contract that has four years to go at more at $7 million a year. So to your point, Darren, I think the prices are astronomical and maybe that means they don’t really want to trade him between now and the deadline. But if they get a king’s ransom then they would consider it."

If the report is true and that Dorion is indeed looking to offload Ryan and his massive contract in any potential Karlsson deal, LeBrun added the Sharks have tons of cap room to take on both players.

As they all say, the big story is Karlsson. Let's see if he moves today.